I am a mom, a business owner, and I am ADHD (the inattentive kind).
I have all of the symptoms. I daydreamed in school unless it was an applied topic that was of high interest to me. However, if it was of interest to me, I nailed it. College and Graduate school were a breeze for me because it was applied. Grammar school and high school, not so much.
According to William Dodson, “When people with ADHD aren’t in the zone, in hyperfocus, they have many things rattling around in their minds all at once.”
I always had the symptoms of ADHD Inattentive type but I thought everyone’s brain worked like mine. I now know that my brain is not neurotypical.
My symptoms became more evident to me when I became a mom
I believe that I was able to mask the symptoms for a very long time. I am sure that is partly because the mental load of being a mom is so great.
We tend to function well in a crisis
The ADHD brain is motivated by stimulation. We function well in a crisis. People with ADHD can generally function well when they are under stress. This is why people with ADHD often wait until the last minute to do things. We need a certain level of stimulation to complete tasks. We often need that last-minute push to get it done.
We are often late
People with ADHD struggle with the concept of time. We are mostly living in the here and now and easily lose track of it. For example, if we are running errands, we may try to fit too many things into a small amount of time.
The ADHD mind is full of information
Pieces of knowledge, exciting ideas, we have lots of information but we are missing the card catalogue. Things are not well organized. According to William Dodson, “The ADHD nervous system wants to be engaged in something interesting and challenging. Attention is never deficit. It’s always excessive, constantly occupied with internal engagements”. One downside to this is that we can forget pieces of information.
The other side of ADHD: hyperfocus
I think there is a myth that people with ADHD cannot focus on anything. This is not the case at all. I am incredibly driven, determined, and creative. Those of us with ADHD can hyperfocus on things that we are interested in. This can mean being very productive. When I am interested in something, I go into overdrive. I believe this is why I didn’t realize that I had it. For many years, I was not aware of hyperfocus as a symptom. I can hyperfocus on work, on my business, exercise, and on researching what my kids need. Mundane tasks like laundry, dishes or organizing papers… not so much. Those things can all crumble around us while we are hyper-focusing on a project.
One of the challenges that I have is managing the number of ideas that constantly come to my brain. It might be articles to write, business ideas, etc. I can be working on one thing and other ideas will enter my mind. I have gotten in the habit of writing them down so that they don’t distract the task that I am actually working on at the moment.
ADHD in girls and Women
ADHD often goes undiagnosed in girls and women and it is commonly discovered later in life. It appears less severe than in boys and is exacerbated by hormonal changes.
Men and boys are more likely to have ADHD with hyperactivity. Women and girls are more likely to have the inattentive type. This type makes it hard to pay attention to details, stay organized and remember things.
How it shows up in my life
I lose things.
I hate papers. I have lots of stacks.
Somedays you can find the toothpaste tube in my kitchen and I can give you a very good explanation for how that happened.
I am often in a rush and have driven on empty more times than I care to admit.
My husband says I often leave the refrigerator open.
I forget to do mundane tasks like certain chores like laundry.
When I am rushing, I miss details.
Executive functioning is hard for my brain. Executive functioning is basically planning and organizing. Executive functioning is responsible for paying attention, prioritizing, starting tasks, and staying focused until completion.
Here are some of my ADHD Hacks
- Write lists, lists, and more lists. I use lists for ideas, as well as daily to-do lists
- I try to do something when my brain thinks of it instead of putting it off
- I ask my husband to tell me before he is about to share something with me to make sure that I am fully present. (because I often do too much at once)
- I try to put important items in the same place all of the time
- Put bills on autopay
- Layout clothes the night before (for me and the kids). Lunches are even done the night before school
- Use multiple alarms
- I use my smartphone for lots of notes. This equals less paper for me.
- If someone gives me a scrap of paper, I write it in my phone or take a picture of it.
- Being aware that my brain tells me that things take an hour when they will really take two hours. This awareness helps me to plan better
- Time blocking- blocking out time for mundane tasks. This means writing things into your calendar or your schedule that need to be done. Blocking out time in your schedule to do taxes or return emails, etc
- Building mini-breaks into my schedule
Do you have favorite ADHD hacks that help you to manage life as a mom? We would love to hear them in the comments.